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Use Pro Bono as a Playground for Innovation With These 4 Tech Tools

Friday, May 04, 2018

Use Pro Bono as a Playground for Innovation With These 4 Tech Tools

"Lawyers are famously resistant to new technology. Over the past few years, e-discovery and contract management software have gained traction, often at the behest of in-house counsel. But attorneys are timid about further adoption.

Legal aid organizations, on the other hand, with their limited personnel and financial resources, have stepped up to reduce the justice gap and serve the remaining 86% of low-income Americans with unmet legal needs. They’re incentivized to experiment with new technology that can help them reduce staff, increase volunteer engagement, and serve more people.

Below is a round-up of technology tools that are ripe for application and have been used in legal aid. Your pro bono practice can be a testing ground for these technologies, which are equally applicable to private practice. Though aspirational products are fun to read about, we’ve chosen tools that will give you immediate efficiency and cost savings and can be implemented today.

1. Document Automation

As machine learning and crypto-anything steal the limelight, document automation humbly continues its widespread direct impact, with happy clients, more efficient lawyers, and fewer errors. TurboTax made the guided interview platform popular, and the legal community has followed, allowing attorneys to create online questionnaires that populate into fillable PDF forms and bracketed templates.

But so few law firms are automating their templates. We just aren’t trained to make efforts to reduce our billable hours.

In the legal aid world, by contrast, where lawyers are scarce and the justice gap feels insurmountable, tools like Docassemble, A2J Author, and Law Help Interactive are ubiquitous. There can be no conversation about access to justice without automation on the agenda..."

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